Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, March 06, 2017
Few writers able to make writing their fulltime career.
Media release: 06 March 2017
Report reveals the difficulty in
making a living from writing in New Zealand
A new report that looks at how New Zealand writer’s earn from their
writing has revealed that very few are able to make writing their fulltime
The Horizon Research report, commissioned by Copyright Licensing NZ in
conjunction with the NZ Society of Authors, NZ Writer’s Guild and Playmarket,
summarises the feedback from 380 New Zealand writers. Respondents were a mix of
fiction, non-fiction and children’s book authors, academic and education
writers, journalists, screenwriters and playwrights.
On average, only 24% of annual earnings - $13,500 - was generated from
writing and most spend the majority of their productive time working in another
occupation that is unrelated to their writing. One in five writers had
experienced infringement of their copyright and many reported that finding a
publisher for their work was becoming more difficult.
Kyle Mewburn, President of the NZ Society of Authors, says, “As the
survey starkly reveals, the vast majority of writers are working at a minimum
wage job with no insurance, overtime or holiday pay, and absolutely no job
security. We really need our local readers to buy more local books from local
bricks-and-mortar bookshops. Let’s just consider it an investment in our
Also of note is the fact that New Zealand writers are generally well
educated and many are motivated to write either due to a passion for books and
reading or a desire to create education materials for New Zealand students.
Paula Browning, Chief Executive at Copyright Licensing NZ said, “This
is the first time we have surveyed New Zealand writers about their earnings and
other aspects of writing. Improving our understanding of the challenges writers
face means can do more to support them. We know that we need a strong local writing
and publishing industry so that New Zealand stories are told, both by New
Zealanders and for New Zealanders.” The report clearly demonstrates that we
need to do more to support our writers and increase their ability to earn a
living from writing.